With Colin Kaepernick continuing his protest of the national anthem and various social injustices taking place in the United States, Arizona Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa believes the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is trying to keep his name in headlines.
La Russa offered this critique of Kaepernick's protest in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Maggie Gray:
I know that there's a constitutional right to express yourself, but I think you have a right as an organization to have a certain philosophy about respecting, whether it's our Constitution, whether it's our country, whether it's our soldiers...our flag. I would not, to the best of my ability, I would not sanction somebody taking a knee.
I think that's disrespectful, and I really question the sincerity of somebody like Kaepernick. I remember when he was on top. I never heard him talk about anything but himself. Now all of a sudden he's struggling for attention and he makes this big pitch. I don't buy it. And even if he was sincere, there are other ways to show your concern. Disrespecting our flag is not the way to do it.
The criticism of Kaepernick's protest is hardly new, but there seems to be a lack of acknowledgment from others about the things he's actually doing to help further his cause.
Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer said on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown (via Martin Rogers of USA Today) that Kaepernick "is a backup quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows" and to not get in the way of the team to advocate for social issues.
It didn't seem to be a problem for the 49ers on Monday night when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 28-0 and three other players joined Kaepernick in a display of solidarity. Teammate Eric Reid knelt beside Kaepernick during the anthem. Eli Harold and Antoine Bethea raised their fists in a Black Power salute, along with Los Angeles Rams Robert Quinn and Kenny Britt.
Kaepernick previously met with former Green Beret Nate Boyer to discuss his stance and find ways to protest while still being respectful to the military. He has pledged to donate $1 million to various social groups and be active in communities.
After sales of Kaepernick's jersey spiked following his protest, he wrote on Instagram that he will also donate all of the proceeds he receives "back into the communities" to repay the people who are supporting his movement.
Kaepernick is using his time, money and voice to bring attention to a problem that he sees in this country, but it seems La Russa isn’t convinced of his intentions.